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Analysis of the Representation of Ethnic Minorities in "Training Day" and "Se7en"

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An analysis of the representation of ethnic minorities in Training Day and Se7en. Representation of ethnic minorities is a controversial issue. This study explores the representation of Denzel Washington in Training Day (2001) and Morgan Freeman in Se7en (1995). Although there have been many social developments and shifts in cultural hegemony, ethnic minorities are no longer restricted to the number of roles they play and ethnic minorities are not so explicitly stereotyped. The movie Birth of a nation represented black people as ?savages? and in one scene a black man sexually assaults a white women thus representing black people as if they are possessed by lust. The movies glorifies white people and in this case the Klu Klux Klan. The movie stereotypically represents black politicians and shows them devouring chicken and ogling white women once the inter-racial law was passed. Black characters didn?t seem to be allowed to deliver a self fulfilling performance and were instead placed into one of five preset characters. These characters were the ?House Nigger? who is a black person who does their best to please white people even if that means disowning their own racial identity or ? the Coon? who is someone who stereotypically represents black people i.e. conforms to generalisations of black people. Furthermore, other preset characters include ?The Mammie? which is a black woman who is from the southern United States who worked as a nanny for a white family she is generally trusted and held in a higher regard compared to other black people. ...read more.


The West African athlete also has a higher concentration of fast twitch muscles?. However, Denzel Washington has been in critically acclaimed movies such as ?The Hurricane? and ?Glory? where he received an Academy Award for ?Best Supporting Actor? for his portrayal of ?Private Trip.? When the audience are first introduced to Alonzo, he is wearing a bandana, multiple chains and a gun strap. It could therefore be argued Alonzo is dressed stereotypically as an African-American from an impoverished background. Denzin (2002) suggests ?that the conventional narrative in the interracial buddy films, where two men of different races develop trust and friendship, can be read as an imaginary utopia in which racial differences do not matter and comedy inverts stereotypes to generate humour?. Alonzo is initially presented as a ?coon? or a ?brutal buck?. A coon being a stereotypically represented black man and brutal buck being a rebellious black man. As the film progresses, we see Alonzo?s superiority and dominance over Jake. Alonzo may be a strong willed character however; it can be argued that he cannot escape the concept of ?White Hollywood?. We learn throughout the movie that Alonzo has four children but we only see one of those children and one mistress. With the child, it is evident Alonzo seems to have very little proximity in the relationship with his son. Other than a few lines of dialogue, this could be to do with the fact Alonzo is black he cannot enforce the ?father figure? role Jackson (2012) ...read more.


and driving a ?Low-Rider? which is also commonly associated with gang culture and has been glamourized by many black music artists. Although ?Alonzo? is a narcotics officer and his duty is to uphold the law and remove illegal drugs from the ?streets? however he constantly breaks laws throughout the movie such as speeding, smoking illegal drugs and attempted murder. This can be used as an example of working class black males being rebellious and deviant whereas ?Somerset? in ?Se7en? upholds the law and is reluctant to break any laws, this is represented in the final scene where he attempts to talk ?Mills? down and prevent him from killing ?John Doe?. Conforming to rules and social laws is something which in black culture is negated and is not followed however Morgan Freemans character ?Somerset? is an example of a famous black actor who is not stereotypically represented in movies. Finally I conclude ethnic minorities are not fairly represented throughout Hollywood as the majority of films including ethnic minorities such as the Afro-Caribbean background are stereotypically represented. To justify this we just need to look at the large amount of black highly decorated artists playing stereotypical black characters, an example of this is Wesley Snipes in ?White men can?t jump? where he is from Crenshaw, Los Angeles a poverty stricken area and loves to play basketball which is also a black stereotype. Stereotypes of the Afro-Caribbean community can be seen in an array of movies such as ?The Longest Yard? where Chris Rock plays the role of ?Caretaker? and ?Norbit? where Terry Crews plays ?Big Jack Latimore?. ...read more.

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